Hotel near Clearwater Marine Aquarium
With your seaside perch at Sirata Beach Resort, you’re certainly well positioned to explore the wonders of Tampa Bay, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Gulf of Mexico. There’s a good chance you’ll even see bottlenose dolphins, manatees, and other wild marine life when you’re out and about paddling, snorkeling, or beach-hopping.
If you’d like to be guaranteed of a sighting of some of our native sea creatures—and a comprehensive understanding of the preciousness and fragility of our estuarine and marine ecosystems—we suggest you take a drive up-coast and pay a visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
This long-running facility is more than just a garden-variety aquarium: It’s a busy conservation center dedicated to monitoring—and, when necessary, rescuing and tending—sealife across our region. Whether it’s responding to stranded cetaceans, collecting data on nesting sea turtles, or providing veterinary care and both temporary and permanent homes to injured, ailing, or otherwise at-risk critters of all stripes, the CMA is caretaker for more than just its permanent roster.
The Cast of Characters at the CMA
That roster, speaking of, includes a legitimate celebrity: Winter the bottlenose dolphin. She was found entangled in Mosquito Lagoon on the east coast of Florida back in 2005, and part of her rehabilitation at the CMA involved replacing the tail she’d lost with a prosthetic one: a saga that spawned the book and movie Dolphin Tale. Her tankmate, Hope—an orphaned dolphin found alongside her dead mother’s body in the Indian River Lagoon in 2010—was the focus of that film’s sequel.
There are plenty of other charismatic characters residing at the CMA as well: other dolphins, river otters, clownfish, nurse sharks, moray eels, a great white pelican, seahorses, and many others. And you never know what temporary tenants may be convalescing here alongside the full-time crew.
Visitor Activities & Events at the CMA
The CMA offers a whole slew of visitor activities year-round, including some hands-on interactions with some of its animals. In the coming weeks, you’ll also be able to get in the holiday spirit at the aquarium courtesy of its Winter’s Wonderland event. From Friday, November 24 through Saturday, December 23, the CMA will show off some festive holiday decorations, offer photo ops with Winter Claus, host Santa for some tank dives, and lead Sea of Lights boat tours along lit-up Clearwater Bay. And heads up: Winter’s Wonderland overlaps with our own “Let’s Talk Turkey!” holiday getaway deal!
Fishes to dolphins, boat cruises to conservation outreach, the CMA is the perfect place to get to know our local waters here along Florida’s sunny, white-sand Gulf Coast. Check it out the next time you’re reveling in this world-class oceanfront at Sirata Beach Resort!